Pichavaram, near Chidambaram in Cuddalore District, is the second largest mangrove forest in the world and is around two hundred and twelve kilometers from Chennai. Though not as famous as the backwaters in Kerala, it is just as beautiful.
The tourism department offer boat rides through the forests. The tourism department boats take the passengers through the expanse of the mangrove and till the sea. The passengers get to see the mangrove forests and natural canals.
After twenty minutes into the boat ride, you reach a platform which takes you inside the mangrove forest. It is a footpath primarily used by the forest department but passengers are allowed to use it to walk around the forest. It is approximately a ten-minute walk.
The best season to visit this forest in is December when all the birds come because of the topography, environmental conditions (the habitual difference to canals, creeks etc. attracts the bird to Pichavaram) and high productive nature. The mangrove consists of rare species like Aviccenia and Rhizophora which causes the special attention that the forests get. Amongst others, one can view birds like Snipess, cormorants, egrets, storks, herons, spoonbills, and pelicans.
The region offers an ideal habitat for a variety of species of birds and animals. The forest department has spotted over 177 species of birds. The migration of species come from different countries and breeding grounds.
Pichavaram is one of the most beautiful natural forests and a must-see location if you are anywhere near Chidambaram. The closest accommodation is the Saradaram Adventure Resort which also runs the only commercial boating facility at Pichavaram. The forest department does not conduct commercial boating. Their boats are only for research purposes for the department. Accommodation is also available in Chidambaram and Puducherry.